This interview is part of our Paranormal Romance Author series of interviews where we interview some of today’s top paranormal romance authors! Be sure to check out our past Paranormal Romance Author interviews to learn more about various authors working in this growing genre!
For this week's interview, we talk with Liza Street who burst onto the paranormal romance scene with her fan-favorite series, The Sierra Pride. She soon followed that series with another, The Corona Pride which will have its second title, Savage Lost, released on April 5th!
Today, Liza talks to us about how she got started writing paranormal romance through ghost writing, about the genesis of her The Sierra Pride series, how it ties-in with her new series The Corona Pride, and much more. We also have an excerpt from her latest release, Savage Yearning!
For those who are new to you and your work, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Happily! I’m a wife to a supportive husband and mom to two kids. I’ve been writing for years, mostly paranormal or fantasy romance. I love me some monsters and magic.
Is it true you did some ghost writing in the past?
Yep! I still do it on occasion. I started out editing, which is primarily what I do when I’m not writing. One time an editing project came in, and the ghostwriter had done a very poor job—just, cringe-worthy writing. I had to tell my client that it would be better to start over from scratch. He was in a rush and asked if I knew any writers, and boom—I had a new job.
What was your experience like doing that?
First of all, it’s a lot of fun working with someone else’s outline and watching the story and characters come to life. Just as importantly, the experience got me thinking about publishing my own stories—how that would work, what kinds of books I would want to publish.
From ghost writing, did you go right into writing The Sierra Pride series?
I wrote the first book right away, and then I spent a couple of months learning more about romance, its subgenres, and its tropes before I planned out the rest of the series.
For those unfamiliar with The Sierra Pride series, can you give us a snapshot as to what it is about?
It’s comprised of eight novelettes (each between 60 and 75 pages) featuring the Fourniers, a family of mountain lion shifters. The stories stand alone, but there’s a series arc with a missing sister. I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of hot loving along with action and suspense, because that’s what I most enjoy reading.
What lessons did you learn from writing The Sierra Pride series that you applied or are applying to writing your new series, The Corona Pride series?
One thing I learned about myself is that I loooove writing standalones that are also tied together by an overall series question or problem. I wanted to attempt this again with the Corona Pride. One thing I learned about my readers is that for some of them, 60 pages is not enough time with a couple! My readers wanted longer stories with more character development, so I’ve been aiming for longer books in the Corona Pride—120 to 150 pages.
Speaking of The Corona Pride series, it's a new series you have just started. What can you tell us about it?
A pride of mountain lion shifters has their world upset when vampires—banished from North America for the past hundred years—return to the territory. We get to see the clash of two strong supernatural groups as they navigate their internal and external politics…all while the heroes and heroines are navigating the messy, joyful insanity of romance.
Your previous series ties in with The Corona Pride series, correct? Can you tell us how and what inspired you to do it?
The idea came was when I was thinking of a free novella to write as a serial for my mailing list (I shower them with love and free fiction!). I revisited the Sierra Pride, looking for characters who were single and might enjoy a story of their own. In Fierce Informer, the sixth book of the Sierra Pride, I found more characters than I needed. I’d already fallen hard for Dristan, Laura, Rafe, and Fraze, and I didn’t want to limit myself to just one little novella. As a result, the Corona Pride series was born. And then, of course, I had to come up with a new idea for a free novella! And that novella, The Rose King, is spawning its own new series.
The first book of your new series, Savage Yearning, came out in early March. What has been the reaction to it so far from your new and regular fans?
Fans are thrilled so far—they seem to be enjoying the more in-depth character development. Some were a little skeptical about the idea of vampires at first, but they seem to be rolling with it! They love the romance, and the balance of suspense and action. They adore Laura, the heroine, and how badass-yet-vulnerable she is.
Do you have an end point in mind for The Corona Pride series?
Yes—it’s a total of five books, one released each month. The last one, Savage Bliss, will come out in July.
Any new stand-alone stories or series planned yet for after The Corona Pride series is completed?
Oh, yes! That newsletter serial I mentioned, The Rose King? It’s a prequel for the Rock Creek Clan. We’ll also meet them in the third Corona Pride book, Savage Heartache.
I fell in love with the RCC while writing Savage Heartache, so that group will get their own series once the Corona Pride has their run. It’s getting a bit messy, isn’t it?
I’ll probably have to come up with some kind of book connections map. The geeky part of me is very excited about this prospect.
And finally, can you share with us an excerpt from your newest release, Savage Yearning?
Of course! This takes place right after Laura has scared off a human woman who’d been expressing interest in Dristan, Laura’s love interest.
Laura splashed cold water on her face in the bathroom at Hart’s, not caring about her make-up. She’d acted like a total douche-canoe, and worse, Dristan had called her out on it.
She wanted to hide in this bathroom for ages, and not go back out and see Dristan or Fraze. But that was the coward’s way.
After drying her face, she went back to the bar and sat at Fraze’s side. He didn’t say anything, just passed her a fresh beer.
“I think I need something stronger,” she said. Her face felt hot with a blush, and she was grateful for her olive complexion because the blush wouldn’t be as visible.
“Whiskey sour for the lady,” Fraze said, flagging the bartender.
Laura put her head in her hands as she replayed her interaction with Dristan and the other woman. “That was—”
“Awful,” Fraze finished. “Laura Elizabeth Vidal, what is going on?”
“Frasier Matthew Rhees, why don’t you tell me?”
“Is the other woman okay,” Fraze asked, “or did you fillet her in the bathroom with your claws?”
“She’s fine. My lion was out of control, though,” she admitted. “I totally lost my mind at the sight of him with someone else. I think I need to go back to the lodge and go for a run.”
Her whiskey arrived, and Frasier nudged it toward her. “You can’t go yet.”
She nudged the drink back. “Sorry. I just…I shouldn’t be here right now. I’m not fit for company.”
“You’re leaving me now? Rafe’s not even here yet.”
“Give him my apologies…and my drink. I know you prefer that fruity shit.”
“What the heart wants, babe.”
“The heart wants to not be called ‘babe,’ babe.”
“Touché. What are you going to do, really?” he asked. “About Dristan?”
She resisted the urge to throw the relationship questions back at him—Fraze had been holding himself back from women since his first and only serious girlfriend had broken up with him. It had been a few years ago, and he hadn’t actively pursued anyone since. He wasn’t ready, it seemed.
“I don’t know about Dristan.” She stared at the bar top for a long moment. Her place in the pride was precarious enough already. Laura had only been twelve when her best friend and mentor in the pride, Mendy, had been shipped off to be an Exchange. Mendy had been staying out late every night, partying with the humans she’d graduated with. She’d had a crush on this one guy, and Laura vividly remembered Mendy showing up at Laura’s window, her breath smelling of alcohol, her cheeks flushed, telling her how she and the boy had kissed in his car.
A week later, Mendy turned eighteen and was sent off as an Exchange to another pride. Marlana hadn’t even allowed her to say goodbye.
The worst part? Mendy was Marlana’s daughter. If Marlana could ship off her own kid, what would she do if Laura stepped too far out of line?
Dristan was a temptation that Laura couldn’t afford.
She stood up and hugged Fraze. “What about you? Hoping to meet someone tonight?”
She heard the lie. “Okay, which one?”
Fraze shook his head.
Laura glanced around the room until she spotted a curvy redhead. “Aha! I found her. Want me to send her over?”
Laura rolled her eyes. “You have to trust yourself, Fraze. Let someone in.”
“I don’t have enough control over my lion to date a human. Or anyone, really.”
“I think you do. You’re just scared.”
“Shut up and go for that run so I can drink my appletini in peace.”
We want to give a big "thanks!" to Liza for taking time to do this excellent interview! If you enjoyed this interview, then you might want to see what past interviews we have done with some of today's top paranormal romance authors!